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By Tennis Now | Sunday, February 4, 2018

 
Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova demolished defending St. Petersburg champion Kristina Mladenovic, 6-1, 6-2, to capture her 21st career championship.

Photo credit: St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy Facebook

Playing indoors, Petra Kvitova knows no ceiling.

The 29th-ranked Kvitova demolished defending St. Petersburg champion Kristina Mladenovic, 6-1, 6-2, in a 65-minute thrashing to capture her 21st career championship at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

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The left-handed Czech did not drop serve in becoming the first wild card and first lefty to raise the St. Petersburg title trophy.

"This was a special tournament for me," Kvitova said. "All week, I played unbelievable matches and I really had to fight to make the final."

Kvitova cracked seven aces, dropped just six points on her first serve and denied all three break points she faced in collecting her first title since she beat Ashleigh Barty to win Birmingham on grass last June.



Crowding the baseline and striking with conviction, Kvitova crunched a forehand return breaking at love for a 5-1 lead.

The two-time Wimbledon winner served out the opening set, smacking 16 winners in the opener.

The victory will vault the former world No. 2 to No. 21 when the new WTA rankings are released tomorrow.

"I just went there and tried to show my best, which I always try to play my best in the finals for sure" Kvitova said. "I played a difficult opponent today. Kiki was defending her title from the last year so I knew I would really have to play well and that's what I did."



It also means Auckland champion Julia Goerges, whom Kvitova knocked off in yesterday's semifinals, will make her Top 10 debut tomorrow.

Kvitova extended one streak and ended another.

The triumph marks Kvitova's eighth straight year winning at least one title, while ending Mladenovic's streak of eight straight St. Petersburg victories.

Australian Open doubles champion Mladenovic snapped her 15-match singles losing streak reaching her second straight St. Petersburg final but was overwhelmed by Kvitova's dynamic first-strike play.

"Coming into this week, there was a lot of pressure and I don't think many people expected me to show up in the finals," Mladenovic said. "But from the moment I got here, I felt so welcomed by everyone from the crowd to the organizers, and I fought very hard every single match to make it back here. Petra had an amazing week, and luckily we had an amazing show after the match!"

The 27-year-old Kvitova, who launched her comeback last season after suffering a horrific stabbing attack that damaged tendons in her left hand, raised her indoor hard-court record to a WTA-best 64-27.

The 2017 US Open quarterfinalist is aiming for Grand Slam success this season. 

"There's still other things to reach for me," Kvitova said. "I do have two Wimbledon titles. I would like to do something big in the Grand Slams, obviously, and then it will show in the rankings. It's important to be healthy and try to improve my game."

 

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